Illinois paid leave regulations (finally) published — law took effect January 1


Illinois employers have more direction on how to comply with the law

The Illinois Department of Labor published final regulations implementing the state's Paid Leave for All Workers (PLAW) law. The regulations, which provide employers with some relief and answers, became effective when they were published on April 30, 2024.

Existing company policies

Although the state law went into effect January 1, 2024, company policies meet the requirements only if they were changed before that date. Updated policies are fine if they allow Illinois employees to use paid sick time for any reason, even if:

  • Employers refer to the paid leave as "vacation."
  • The policy requires employees to provide advance notice and manager pre-approval.

Part-time employee accrual

For part-time employees, employers may provide leave in smaller, proportional increments if the accrual rate is at least one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked. Employers must count work periods on a minute-by-minute basis, or they may round up to the next 15 minutes. Employers, however, may not round down time worked.

If, for example, an employee works 15 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. The employee is entitled to accrue 19.5 hours of paid leave annually. (15 x 52 = 780 hours worked per year; 780 divided by 40 hours of work = 19.5 hours of paid leave time.)

Part-time and mid-year hire frontloading

Employers may grant a reduced amount of frontloaded leave for part-time employees in proportion with the employee's predicted work schedule for that year.

Employers may also grant a proportionate amount of leave for employees they hire mid-year, also based on the employee's anticipated work schedule for that year.

Employers may frontload the leave for some of their employees and accrue the leave for others.

Details about leave usage

Employees get to decide — and employers may not require — when and whether they want to use the paid leave before using any other leave benefits provided by the employer or state law.

Employees also get to decide how much paid leave they want to use, but employers may set a minimum increment of at least two hours per day. Employers may, however, restrict an employee's use of paid leave to the employee's known or predicted work schedule.

If employers offer more than one type of leave, they should confirm and document what category of leave an employee wishes to draw from for any use of leave.

Employers may also impose a 40-hour carryover cap through a valid written policy.

Denying leave

Employers may deny an employee's request to use paid leave if all the following conditions are met:

  • Employers disclose in a written leave request policy, any basis for denial;
  • The employer's paid leave policy establishes certain limited circumstances in which paid leave may be denied in order to meet the employer's operational needs for the requested time period; and
  • The employer's policy is consistently applied to similarly situated employees and does not deny employees the opportunity to use all paid leave they are entitled to over a 12-month period.

Key to Remember: The Illinois DOL published final regulations implementing the Paid Leave for All Workers Act, giving employers more information on how to comply.

This article was written by Darlene M. Clabault, SHRM-CP, PHR, CLMS, of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. The content of these news items, in whole or in part, MAY NOT be copied into any other uses without consulting the originator of the content.


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